While there are quite a few pizzerias in Toronto serving Neaopolitan-style pizza, there aren’t very many that can say they are certified by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana. Pizza e Pazzi is one of the few that can make that claim.
Having been open for over a year, Pizza e Pazzi now has two locations which are actually quite close to each other on St. Clair West. Chris and I dropped by their original location which is just west of Dufferin.
I really liked the space which featured exposed brick on one wall and the sleek black chairs which gave it a modern feel.
In addition to a long list of pizza, Pizza e Pazzi has a wide selection of pasta. They also have several specials each day – today’s features included a few seafood options. On the day we visited, there was a $25 three-course special which included an appetizer, pizza and dessert. We decided to order one special accompanied by an extra appetizer and pizza.
Soon after ordering, our server brought over some complimentary bread. Be careful if you have a nut allergy – some of the bread contained walnuts. The bread came out warm with three different accompaniments: a pepper & zucchini spread, onions and mushrooms. A nice way to start the meal!
To start, we ordered the Suppli Fritti – deep fried risotto balls cooked in a bolognese sauce of ground beef, coated in bread crumbs and stuffed with fiore di latte ($6.75).
The order came with two large risotto balls served on top of a bed of arugula. They were incredibly cheesy, making it a heavy starter but it had a nice flavour. I just wish it came served with some tomato sauce. I believe the bolognese sauce mentioned in the menu was found inside the ball itself.
Another starter we had was the Caprese di Bufala Campana (dop) – 100g Italian mozzarella de bufala campana dop, sliced tomato, basil, e.v.o.o. , which was part of the prix-fixe. I’m not sure what 100g of mozzarella looks like but this was much larger than I had expected. It was a simple salad but when you have fresh ingredients like this, it’s best to let them shine on their own. It was nice that the salad came with 2 types of tomatoes, red and yellow, giving the plate some needed colour.
The first pizza I tried was the Ai Tre Funghi Trifolati – selection of 3 kinds of sautéed mushrooms, fresh fior di latte and black pepper ($19). Mushrooms are often my choice of pizza topping because I love its earthy flavour.
The crust actually held up quite nicely for a thin crust Neapolitan pizza. The crust was soft, chewy and had a slight char to it. A solid pizza but I think I preferred our second pizza.
The second pizza we ordered was the Pizza ‘nduja – tomatoes, fresh fior di latte, spreadable spicy salami (for the prix-fixe). The pizza was dotted with the spreadable salami, which I felt there could’ve been a little bit more of. But perhaps it would’ve made the pizza too oily. I didn’t even realize how oily it was until I noticed a trail of oil down my entire arm. Classy, eh? Overall, a solid pizza.
Since we had the 3-course prix-fixe menu, it came with a choice of dessert. We opted for the Cannoli Siciliani – chocolate chips, candida and fresh ricotta stuffed into a delicate pastry tube which was served with a side of whipped cream, raspberries and chocolate sauce. My recommendation? Pass on the cannoli. The filling had a bit of a funky taste to it which I didn’t enjoy and the pastry was awfully hard and crumbly.
Dessert aside, we had a solid meal at Pizza e Pazzi. But when it comes to Neapolitan pizza, Pizzeria Libretto takes the cake, in my opinion.
At a glance:
• Serving up authentic Neapolitan pizza
• Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana certified
• Solid pizza but skip the cannoli
• 2 locations on St. Clair (Dufferin and Christie)
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars